A Very Scary Moment in a Dark Alley: Trashing a Disney Princess Kitchen

I was scooting through my apartment building’s basement (a wonder in systems and architecture) on my way to pick up a package at the Super’s Office. My path crosses an alleyway in our complex where trash is collected prior to moving out onto the street, and I saw this terrifying object!!

Horror! Run away! Disney Princess Kitchen in the trash. Good riddance. RL Fifield photo 2013.

Horror! Run away! What are you supposed to make in this kitchen – roasted unicorn? Disney Princess Kitchen in the trash. Good riddance. RL Fifield photo 2013.

This is the set I had! Photo: Sewing on the edge Blog.

I was frozen in terror. A Disney Princess kitchen set. Not only does little girl get to learn household roles, she gets to feel like she’s engaging in a precious, pink activity while doing it (am I reaffirming gender stereotypes myself here by assuming this didn’t belong to a boy?). I certainly begged an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid, but my mother was careful not to encourage role-stereotyping.  I think my only toy kitchen equipment was a small groovy set of orange, green, and brown toy Tupperware, some of which is still used by my parents for their lunches.

Goldie Blox. Photo: Core 77 Blog.

Culinary endeavors are certainly having a moment of fame here as Americans re-learn the importance of good food after the tragedies of the 20th century. I think the P-word is doing our girls a disservice. If she’s interested in cooking, how about getting her to stir cookie dough and actually make something? (or something healthy, if you object to cookies). I was equally disturbed by Goldie Blox, engineering toys for girls. The premise from this Kickstarter campaign is that in order to interest girls in science, you must wrap it in pink and sparkles and cute puppies and ribbons. Really? Have all our toys just become more gendered? I don’t remember anything particularly girl or boy about Tinkertoys, those sharp-edged all metal Tonka Toys, or my favorite, Lincoln Logs. I could play with Lincoln Logs for hours. (ok! full disclosure: so I did have Barbie and My Little Pony – but my brother and I spent hours playing with Matchbox cars too).

Read my post “Hold the Tulle: I’m Anti-Princess” about actually talking to girls about their brain, rather than indicating that their value is appearance-based.

Stop the fantasy homemaker madness!!!

Could this be any more scary? This is what we want for our girls? Complete with gold cell phone. So much for the feminist movement.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.